The F-16 Fighting Falcon was produced by General Dynamics who became Lockheed who then merged with Martin Marietta to become Lockheed Martin. The F-16 entered service in January 1979 as a multi-role jet fighter that evolved into an all-weather multi-role aircraft capable of sustaining 9-g turns. The F-16 is relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain so the U.S. and 25 other countries added it to their inventory. The Fighting Falcon is referred to by its pilots as the “Viper” and will remain in USAF service until 2025.
Between December 2003 and March 2004 the 555th FS “Triple Nickel” / 31st FW was deployed in support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” while flying from Aviano AB, Italy. On April 1, 1994 the 555th became part of the 31st FW newly based at Aviano. The 31st FW maintains two F-16 fighter squadrons, the 555th Fighter Squadron and the 510th Fighter Squadron. The F-16s came from the 512th and 526th FSs when they were disbanded in Germany. F-16CG 89-2035 was assigned to the 555th Commander.